Open Water Swim Event in St. John's River Dec. 22!

December 21, 2012 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

We have quite a lot going on in Jacksonville, in the river and downtown for 2013. We are wrapping 2012 with our first world record holder swimming the Downtown Rebel Exchange Cold Water Swim

The St. Johns River is attracting athletes from around the country. Saturday, December 22, JumpingFish welcomes world-recordholder Patti Bauernfeind from San Francisco and long-distance swimmer Brian Lanahan from Charleston for a 7.5 kilometer St. Johns River swim. The JumpingFish team will kayak alongside as Patti and Brian swim, from the Fuller Warren Bridge through downtown, under the Acosta and Main Street Bridges. They’ll pass EverBank Stadium and Metropolitan Park as they approach the Hart Bridge. From there, they’ll swim on the east side of Exchange Island, then under the Mathews Bridge to the Arlington Road Boat Ramp. Launch time is at noon. We expect to arrive about 2 pm.

Patti holds the world record for swimming the length of Lake Tahoe, traveling 21.24 miles in 10 hours and 38 minutes. Learn more about Patti at

Some of my earliest memories are of swimming.

I was a competitive pool swimmer growing up in Jacksonville, Florida. But I find open water swimming is liberating in so many ways. No walls, no lane lines — no boundaries. Some of my earliest open water swimming was in Florida.

I remember thinking that the water from central Florida’s springs was freezing. But after diving in,

I knew that it was worth the initial shock to experience the amazing beauty of springs. It’s the same with any lake, ocean or river. You can’t tell what the experience will be like standing on shore. Just like with life, you have to dive in and not stay an observer on the sidelines.


Lots of people have asked me why I do ultra-marathon swims. It’s a good question. Its hard to express why I do it. I like the peacefulness of swimming, I like the challenge and dynamic nature of open water swimming since no swim is ever the same. Plus, my mother is a fish as well, so it's in my blood. I can’t go past a body of water without wondering what it would be like to swim in it. Since I live in a place that has lots of places to swim — it means that

I keep swimming.
Patti Bauernfeind

Brian is a professor at the College of Charleston and is training for the English Channel Swim in 2013.
For more information, email .
The kayak support team is:
Roger Linville, St. Johns Riverkeeper Events Coordinator
Candice Davis, JumpingFish, Assistant Director
Jim Alabiso, JumpingFish, Director